A week or two ago while playing golf with one of my new friends, I started to tell him about my somewhat recent exploits out west. To Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. To California, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. He obviously knew I had recently started a new life in Mississippi, played golf every day, and had a fondness for exotic skin and color belts. So as we stood on the 5th tee at 1pm on a Wednesday, he asked, Is anything you do normal?
If I have not explicitly stated or you have not implicitly deduced, lots of normal things come very difficult to me. Take a long weekend trip to Iceland? No problem. Understand the risk profile of a multimillion dollar loan? Sure, let’s geek out. Start life over from scratch in Mississippi? You got it. Become a scratch golfer? Done. But change a tire? No chance. Cook some eggs? Forget about it. Conform just slightly? #abk.
As such, for my 38 years on this earth, I have often had trouble figuring out where I fit. I struggled with whether I was lazy, stubborn, or simply different. Luckily, I have gotten immense clarity over the past three to five years due to two main actions: lots of doing and lots of digging deep. The results? I am not normal (shocking, I know). I see the world differently. I’ve had to own that, and slowly but surely I’m falling in love with the idea of not being normal. I don’t want to walk down the center line. I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. I don’t want to talk fluff just to kill time. It’s not who I am.
I’ve found out that I have a different lens with which I view the world that, while it certainly won’t help change a tire, I am certain it can help others achieve more complex intangibles like dreams, purpose, and potential.
But like any human being, I want to feel like I’m a part of something. That I have a place. That I can relate. That I’m not on my own. That I can understand and accomplish the two seemingly conflicting ideals of being normal and being exceptional.
Along the way, I’ve gotten one really nice surprise.
I enjoy the golf, the travel, the fashion, etc. I enjoy the adventures. I (now) own and enjoy being different. But my absolute favorite thing in the world is being a dad.
It wasn’t easy. Like anything, it took work. For a personality like mine, it took a rewiring. But now, as I consider myself the luckiest person in the world, my absolute favorite thing to do is take to and/or pick my son up from school. Who would have ever guessed that such a routine, mundane, dare I say normal task, would have my heart? But it does.
On his first day of kindergarten, I thought I was going to lose it. I can’t even articulate the emotions I felt as Christy and I watched him walk into his new school, mask on but eyes full of wonder. I felt deep happiness, extreme pride, and big nerves. The tears streamed down my cheeks.
If I take him in the morning, it is the opportunity to set the tone for the day. We try to focus on positivity and creativity, and that a new day is filled with endless opportunities for learning, helping, and excitement.
If I pick him up, it’s just me listening, to anything and everything. Within a minute, I’m usually giggling, just filled with joy that the big man enjoyed another day.
His school is 30 minutes away and begins at the ass crack of dawn. I usually have to get up around 5am to get my body going. But I love it. I can’t explain it. I just love it.
About a week ago, I was texting with a lifelong friend about abk, normalcy and the like when he said, This whole abk journey is nice, but some of us have been watching with interest your whole life.
I said, Bro, why didn’t you say something?
He said, That would have defeated the purpose of the journey.
Damn. He got me.
Have a great week.-Benj
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